Pete Malinverni Trio

A Very Good Year

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Piano trios are not rare, and even exceptional pianists find great challenge in making them exciting. Malinverni, 41 years old at the time of this date, chooses to shade the mainstream jazz he plays in more subtle ways, punctuating the melodies with rich, lustrous elements of sound and swing. Bassist Dennis Irwin and drummer Leroy Williams are chosen to support the leader. They are more than merely adequate; in fact, they add their own professional sheen and brilliance to these eight tracks and six standards, two written by Malinverni. Malinverni plays in New York City clubs, but also has regular engagements -- Sunday mornings in church. His original romp "Courtin' the Muse" and the easy bop singer "Projection" reflects the Greenwich Village jazz club/after midnight at Bradley's concept. The former has Williams effortlessly moving from Afro-Cuban excitement to brimming, simmering swing; the latter sports Malinverni's heightened melodic sense รก la Bud Powell-Kenny Drew-Chick Corea. Duke Ellington's "Angelica" (a.k.a. "Purple Gazelle") is typically elfin and spritely, bouncing off walls of blue emotion. On the more introspective side there's the obvious spiritual quality of "Steal Away/My Lord, What a Morning." A similar reverentiality buoys the pretty, straight but somber "It Was a Very Good Year," inspired by Frank Sinatra's chronological musings. "Imagination" is the tenderest of ballads in Malinverni's hands. "Blue in Green" takes the Bill Evans/Miles Davis evergreen into a litling, field-of-daisies waltz done in a drastically different key (D-flat instead of B-flat). All in all, this is a beautifully conceived trio date -- one that, in the raft of these kinds of recordings, should not be sussed over. Recommended.

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